When General Motors’s telematics unit OnStar launched in Mexico earlier this week, it stated that certain 2014 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles will be compatible with the service. Since then, we’ve received several emails from GM Authority readers asking whether their Mexican-market 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year GM vehicles will be backwards-compatible with the OnStar service.
Well, we’ve recently confirmed with General Motors that models older than those of the 2014 model year will not be compatible with OnStar in the country.
The GM Authority Take
That’s truly a shame, as OnStar is such a valuable service to those who really see value in it.
We suspect that the incompatibility is related to GM’s utilization of Telefónica’s 4G LTE technology in its Mexican-market vehicles, which is not compatible with the CDMA wireless technology (employed by Verizon’s 3G/2G wireless network) found in pre-2014 GM vehicles. So, assuming that the compatibility is limited by technology, perhaps what GM/OnStar should do is offer retrofit kits to owners of GM vehicles older than the 2014 model year, possibly for a fee, which would make their model compatible.
Not only would such a solution satisfy customer demand, but it would also expand OnStar’s subscriber base in Mexico. Because let’s face it — it will be exceptionally difficult for it to turn a profit in the country when its potential subscriber base is limited only to owners of 2014 model year vehicles.
Overall, the incompatibility of older vehicles with OnStar in Mexico is similar to that of the RemoteLink app situation in the United States and Canada, where some models aren’t compatible with the very useful mobile application.